Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old Cedars

Today we went off to do some rock-climbing and Goddess-Questing. First thing this morning Fiona and I met up with another family with young kids and did a few quick climbs at a rock face half an hour south of us. It was my first roped climbing in 17 years, I think! I did okay -- got up a 5.6 pitch of 35 metres or so. Most was easy, though there were a few moments that made me pause and think. It was enough to remind me why I used to like climbing so much; it's cerebral, and the internal conversation with yourself and your body are so much of what it's all about. Fiona Mad-Monkeyed her way up to the second anchor and quite enjoyed herself. She could be a really good climber, I think: she has a great combination of determination, intellectualism, physical agility and emotional resilience.

Goddess Quest was totally cool. A local potter had spent the last few years creating little goddess figurines whenever she had a few minutes and a bit of extra clay. Each one is totally unique in design, expression and symbolism. Yesterday 333 of them were clandestinely placed in 14 different parks and hiking areas throughout a 200 km loop in our region. This morning the Quest began. If you found a goddess you could keep her. Each one was numbered and tagged with website information so that she could be paired up with her name and a quote. We found Goddess #088, the Goddess of Expectation. Publicity had been thorough -- people were out in impressive numbers and by mid-morning almost all the goddesses, even in the out-of-the-way locations, had been found.

Despite the law of diminishing returns, we continued to visit GoddessQuest hiking areas into the afternoon. We met a lot of people we knew (and one reader of this blog, whom we didn't know but do now: hi Ann!) and continued to be amazed at how a few brochures scattered throughout the region, and a couple of preparatory local exhibits in a village of a thousand souls could generate so much interest! We never did find another goddess, but we particularly enjoyed our hike through the red cedar old growth area a mere 15 minutes from our house. I can't believe we haven't done this hike in the past few years. It's short, easy and other-worldly. The ground is springy with centuries of slowly-rotting fallen cedar logs. There is little undergrowth beyond a bit of moss. The trunks are massive, the silence is arresting.

And halfway along the trail is a wonderful bear den. According to our local bear biologist, this den is used every winter, typically by a mother and yearlings or by a pregnant sow bear. It's quite huge inside; I believe we once packed 8 or 9 children inside it at once. Fiona did not want to go in too far. Here she is standing right near the opening doing her best "mama bear protecting her babbies" imitation.

Tonight we're mixing and freezing up a batch of Chai Latté Ice Cream, then settling in for another Battlestar Galactica episode. We're currently nearing the end of Season 3. Season 4 should arrive next week. I'm as addicted as the kids now.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:39 pm

    Nice to meet you too, its a shame that all the Goddesses were gone in the early hours, it would have capped off my ladies cycling weekend to get one of those. Oh well maybe next year.


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